In 2016, the congregation of Saint Francis of Assisi
Catholic Church in Longmont, Colorado decided to expand their existing building
to better serve their growing congregation. The proposed addition to the
existing building would impact the existing landscaping, so our company was
hired to design the renovation and adjustments of the landscape around the
The remodel of the building will be done in multiple phases.
So far, phase 1 of the renovations has been constructed.
Like many church construction projects, this one had to be
cost conscious. Due to budget constraints and various budget reviews, the
proposed plantings were adjusted several times during the planning stages to
best fit the current needs of the budget.
One particular technical challenge was the assessment and modification
of the existing irrigation system and pumps. Our irrigation specialist was
dispatched to the field multiple times to work with the Church’s maintenance
crew to puzzle out the best way to adjust and modify the existing irrigation
system. In the end, we were able to bridge the new and existing irrigation
systems into a cohesive whole.
From a planting design perspective, the client had a few key
points they wished to address: Blend new and existing plants seamlessly; create a low maintenance & low water use
landscape; and add seasonal focal points to pair with the liturgically
appropriate seasonal milestones that are critical to the Church.
Our team worked with the Church’s maintenance team to ensure
the plantings and other landscape elements would be low maintenance. Hearty and
reliable plant species were chosen for the design. We also wanted the new
plantings to blend seamlessly with the existing landscaping. In addition to
these criteria for the plants, we also ensured the plantings in the expanded
parking lot would not obscure any critical sight lines for pedestrian and
To create seasonal focal points, we considered different
plants that might be at their peak during significant seasonal holidays. One
good example of this is forsythia shrubs with their glorious yellow blooms that
appear close to Easter, a very significant holiday in the Catholic Church. Not
only are the seasonal focal points a visible manifestation of seasonally
significant biblical events, these planting nodes provide attractive backdrops
for photo opportunities during church sponsored events such as weddings.
Working on the landscape renovations for the Saint Francis
of Assisi Catholic Church was a wonderful experience for our design team. It was satisfying to help the Church achieve
their landscape design goals for their congregation and stay on budget.
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